Orchestra New England, conducted by Evans Haile
Cast: Judy Kaye, George Rose, Faith Esham, Kevin Gray, Jerry Hadley
Though this CD is now out of print, it's relatively easy to find from used-disc websites.
In the New York Times, Richard Traubner gives a positive review:
Judy Kaye, George Rose, Faith Esham, Kevin Gray, Jerry Hadley, vocalists; Connecticut Choral Artists; Orchestra New England conducted by Evans Haile. CBS MK 44945; CD and cassette.
Set in Colombia in 1912, this lush and ambitious folk operetta of 1948 lasted barely three months in an opulent stage production at the Ziegfeld Theater, but its haunting score is a perfect candidate for recorded posterity. The jungle richness is frequently overripe, as are the bizarre plot (mixing emeralds with religion) and some of the lyrics, but this is a work so utterly different from the usual 1940's musical that it cannot help but intrigue. Judy Kaye stands out in a well-chosen crossover cast of opera and Broadway names, and Evans Haile seems at home in this rain forest of steamy, tropical but often lovely orchestrations. The notes by Villa-Lobos's collaborators, Robert Wright and George Forrest, now represented on Broadway with ''Grand Hotel,'' are fascinating. - Richard Traubner